THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
During 2020, the move from in-person events to digital communication has meant big changes for workers and students. However, with no immediate end to Covid-19 in sight, the long term implications of the move to virtual meetings and classrooms are beginning to be considered, and two recent surveys show that education and the workplace are reacting very differently to the new normal.
A new survey titled 'The New World of Work' report from Workable has found that remote working is a "big paradigm shift" in the way companies operate. The survey, which asked 30 questions to 356 business and HR leaders across sectors, found that 62.6% of businesses have moved to a fully remote-first working environment due to the spread of Covid-19, with 56.5% planning to make remote working permanent for some of their employees.
Responding to the survey, Workable CEO Nikos Moraitakis said that "What we know is that the traditional form of work – effectively, being roommates with your colleagues, sticking to a set schedule, being “present” at your desk – is no longer tenable. It’s like trying to drive an autonomous vehicle with a stick shift."
At the same time that remote practices are becoming commonplace in work, however, another survey has found that a majority of university students dislike virtual learning environments.
The study, undertaken by three tutors at Hult International University in San Francisco, California, collectively known as the 3 Amigos, surveyed 1000 university students across North America, South America and Europe. Their findings indicate that only 35% of respondents said they "liked" the shift to virtual learning. Reporting on feedback, the study found that "Many complained that they had problems staying engaged and that classes were too long for a virtual environment. Others mentioned that new tools and platforms were needed to improve virtual education. The student respondents also expressed their belief that virtual teaching is significantly different from in-class learning, and, therefore, traditional classroom lectures often do not effectively transfer to virtual environments."
The survey also found that among students who felt the shift to virtual learning had caused a notable change, 79% reported "lower overall performance and outcomes", and 59% reported "lower test results".
Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed the way we work, learn and live in 2020, but these surveys suggest that the acceleration to virtual communication may have come too quickly for some sectors. The move to a virtual environment will have huge consequences for international work and education, which means following views and feedback is important. However, as Workable's CEO Nikos Moraitakis says, "One day, we’ll settle into a new form of living, whatever that may be. Until then, let’s keep thinking, talking, collaborating, as we work towards a new – and very different – future."